Join the movement

Join the movement!

Join the movement!

Share this:

Repairing Racial Inequities in the Music Industry with Artist Manager Jonathan Azu


Join the movement!

Jonathan Azu The New Music Business Podcast with Ari Herstand

Must Read

7 Ways to Find a Manager

The manager is the most important person in your operation. Your manager is your teammate. Your partner. Your friend. Finding a manager is about timing, being in the right place at the right time and, really, making it seem like you don’t need a manager.

When Greeting Fans, Never Say These 4 Words

When you’re at a show, you are onstage from the moment the doors open to the moment they close. Even if you’re not physically standing on the stage. You are the artist and there is a spotlight on you, even if you’re hiding in the corner trying to get ready. If you’re being loud and obnoxious at the bar during the opener’s set, people will notice.

How To Actually Make 2023 Work For You

Can you feel it? The kindling of hope. The match of passion. The flicker of possibility.
Avatar photo
Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based musician, the founder and CEO of Ari’s Take and the author of How to Make It in the New Music Business.
Share this:
Mending Racial Inequities in the Music Industry w/ Jonathan Azu | New Music Business w/ Ari Herstand

Listen on your favorite podcast platform: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Acast

Today’s episode was recorded live in Los Angeles in my guest’s, Jonathan Azu, backyard. This was the first in-person interview I’ve done since the coronavirus shutdown and we’ve all been locked in quarantine. But Jonathan has a beautiful backyard where we could safely social distance, so we setup there. It was nice to be in the physical presence of somebody for once. I’ve missed that so dearly.

Jonathan Azu is an artist manager for artists like Cory Henry, Luke James, Emily King, and Michelle Williams among others. He used to be the executive vice president and general manager of Red Light Management. He is also a two-time Billboard magazine 40 Under 40 power player. Over a year ago, he launched his own management company called Culture Collective.

We talk about how he shifted his business model now that live touring is shut down. We also talk about how the music industry can be more racially diverse and equitable, specifically how music companies can address the racial inequalities that exist at an executive level but really all levels.

A Forbes 2017 article outlined that hip-hop and R&B genres are responsible for 25% of all music consumption and over 29% of all on-demand streams across the United States. However, executives of color are still relatively scarce atop major music companies. The top 10 out of 10 on the Billboard Power 100 list are all white, and there’s only two people of color in the top 50. Azu breaks this down on why he thinks this is and how to fix it because it’s a problem.

Quick links:

4:20 – How Jonathan Azu and his artists have been doing since touring has been shut down
12:50 – What Azu’s artists are doing in quarantine – how they are staying busy
16:05 – Artists doing live streaming events
18:53 – About Culture Collective and Azu’s journey to get to where he’s at today
29:07 – Advice to white colleagues asking for advice on curbing systemic racism in the music industry
35:33 – About The Black Music Coalition
39:15 – Lack of racial diversification in the Billboard Power 100 list
41:35 – Shifting internships to paid internships and going outside typical recruiting tactics – should there be mentorship programs?
43:18 – Would reparations be the correct route to approach racial injustices in the music industry?
54:08 – Are people losing interest in the black lives matter movement?
59:10 – Was having an all black roster for Culture Collective intentional?
1:05:05 – Azu’s artist Emily King two Grammy nominations

About The Author

Avatar photo
Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based musician, the founder and CEO of Ari’s Take and the author of How to Make It in the New Music Business.

Join the movement!

Book Ads turq (728 × 90 px) (1)


Is SubmitHub Good or Bad for Indie Musicians: Interview with the Founder

Jason Grishkoff started a music blog called Indie Shuffle back in 2007, when music blogs were still cool. After a 3-year stint at Google, he was lucky to take the blog full-time in 2013. From 2014 to 2015 digital advertising in the music industry changed rapidly, and a number of bloggers found themselves looking for alternative sources of income. Many gave up to focus on their day jobs, but Jason decided to double-down on his coding abilities and created a website called SubmitHub, where musicians, labels and publicists could submit their songs to blogs like Indie Shuffle. Flash forward to 2022 and nearly 30 million submissions have been submitted through the platform. Jason still runs the operation as the only developer, and the product is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the modern music promotion industry.

Related Posts